Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has charged the Federal Government to expedite action on the planned resuscitation of the coal industry.
The House said the coal industry, if resuscitated, will boost the efforts of the Federal Government to diversify the country’s economy.
Consequently, it directed the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Ministry of Steel Development to investigate the issuance of licenses in coal mining blocks to investors, so as to ascertain, why they are yet to commence mining of the blocs, allocated to them.
The House said , if need be, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the allotees should be reviewed and the coal mining blocs re-issued to more competent investors.
Also, the Green chamber mandated its Committee on Mines and Steel to embark on a fact finding visit to Enugu coal mining sites and other coal mining sites across the country and report back to the House for further legislative actions.
This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Nnolim Nnaji on the “the need to resuscitate the abandoned coal mining sites in Nigeria”, at Thursday’s plenary.
Nnaji, in his lead debate, stated that the Federal Government is a bid to revitalise the coal industry in the country and attract Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) , had signed a multi -billion dollar Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese firm HTG-Pacific Energy Consortium to general power from Enugu.
The lawmaker noted that the company was expected to construct coal fired generating plants, capable of generating about 1000 -1200 Megawatts of electricity, that will be connected to the country’s electricity distribution grid
He recalled that the then Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi had reiterated the government’s resolve to revive mining activities in the Enugu coal mines, so as to harness the abundant coal deposites in the area as a veritable source of energy in addressing the power challenge in the country.
Nnaji added that Kayode had equally stated that the Federal Government will partner with the African Development Bank to revamp and fund coal production.
Regardless, the lawmaker expressed concern that “despite the renewed attention brought to the Nigerian coal industry in recent times, there have not been any major headway in the industry.”